Monday, April 27, 2009

Story Hour- wait - Story Minutes

When I was a little girl, my mom would take my sister Jeanna and I (probably she dragged my little brother too) to the local library. Mrs. MacIntyre, a large rollie pollie woman with the kindest voice would read wonderful stories to us at the local story hour. While I really cannot remember the exact stories she would read, I do remember sitting in the library and being transfixed by it all. Some weeks we would go to story hour, some weeks we wouldn't make it. There would be kids ranging in age from 5 to babies and everything in between. Usually there were lots of books and sometimes a craft to complete. It was free and you came when you could.
Story Hour was great!
That's how I remembered it.
Fast forward to today. I am the mother of a 12 (almost 13) month old little girl. I check our local library, online of all places, to see about story hour. Apparently, the story hour of old has been retired. In it's place is an entire brochure dedicated to different age leveled story times. For 12-24 months, story hour is replaced with Baby Rock-N-Rhyme. As stated on the pamphlet, "Children 12 to 24 months and their parents can participate in this 20 minute program of songs, rhymes, and shared books". There's a program for 2-3 1/2 yr olds and then another program for 3 1/2 to 5 year olds. Okay, so it's not quite "Story Hour" but I thought happily back to my own memories of the library and so I signed Mo up. I also encouraged another mom to sign up with me.
Two weeks ago, the first class. I get there early. (for those of you who know me, I usually am late because of Bry, not me, so in the event I go somewhere without Bry I will usually be early or on time) I walk into the children's area of the library and look for the class. We are the first ones to arrive and I see a worker scurrying around.
"Excuse me," I say, "where is the Story Time meeting?".
I should note, I refuse to call it- Baby Rock-N-Rhyme. If it was being led by Alice Cooper or Ozzy Osbourne, then yes Baby Rock-N-Rhyme would be appropriate, but a public library- c'mon!! Storytime!
She points to a small little room, "It's in there, be sure to get a nametag". She whispers in a scratchy, raspy voice.
I grab Mo's nametag. It's a plastic tag with an old index card from the old filing systems reused as a nametag. Nice, they re-use here! Point for the enviornment.
I watch as a few other moms & kids come in. Some are wheeling up in their strollers, others are carrying their children and bags.
I admit it. I size them up. Do these moms look like they're friendly? More so, do these moms look like my type of moms? Do they make eye contact and smile, or do they cling to their child?
Disappointed, the answers are: Not so much, Not really, no real eye contact or smiles, and a few cling to their children. One turns out to be a grandmom, while another looks a little, for lack of a better word- crunchy. Luckily my friend M comes in with her little girl, G. Thank God I don't have to deal with this alone.
The scratchy voiced library lady comes out with a monkey puppet sing-songing some sort of welcome song. I really can't make it out too well, as her voice is kind of rough.
I'm assuming that we are supposed to walk in with our kids to the Story Room. Mainly I assume this since I see the other moms & kids walking it. M & I and our girls head in too.
Immediately M & I look at each other. The story room is small, tight fitting especially with 10 kids and their caregivers. The raspy library lady sits in the front on a chair with the puppet, while we all sit on the floor, backs against the wall, holding our kids. She then starts some rhymes. Behind her, on the chalkboard, are various print outs of some rhymes in different fonts and sizes. I'm glad my eyes are good because I can follow along with the rhymes as we go. M isn't as lucky. She whispers to me, "where are we?". I tell her wheels on the bus and off we go. Raspy library lady procedes to sing the wheels on the bus, sitting in her chair, oblivious to the fact she is in a skirt. She's throwing her whole body into it! Luckily we've got toddlers in the room, so they're not interested in seeing her goods, but unluckily us moms (and one grandmom) aren't so lucky.
It gets better!
As raspy library lady continues, M & I converse back and forth about how much her throat will hurt by the end of the class. I want to get her some tea with lemon and honey. M hopes she rests her vocal chords for the rest of the day by not talking.
After 20 minutes, two books and repeating a few rhymes, raspy library lady turns on a CD of music, gets out a bag of scarves (why? I still don't know!)and puts out a few board books. She mentions that her voice is always like that, and it doesn't bother her. Two songs play and then everyone starts to put the books and scarves away as raspy library lady grabs them and leaves.
No Goodbye song, No Good bye to the kids. Just exit stage Right.
It was so weird. My friend, M finally takes it upon her self to introduce her and her daughter to the few other moms that have yet to escape. My turn is next. I introduce Mo and myself and I learn the other moms names (they now have escaped me) and their kiddies. (I know their names though- Shane, and Robby).
We came back this past week and at least raspy library lady introduced herself Miss Liz and this week she sang some sort of goodbye song, but really that was it.
Storytime is a lot different these days. I came home and talked to Bry about my experience of course he showed no compassion for this awkward experience.
His response, "What do you expect Jac? It's free at the library?"
I guess I expected Mo to have the same sort of happy experiences at teh library that I associate with it. We shall see if next class raspy library lady- I mean Miss Liz- actually asks our kids their names! My guess is probably not.

1 comment:

  1. J - I just checked to see if you'd heard about 'the bump' and saw this description. I'm half laughing and half crying on the inside because it's so accurate! I've never seen a librarian less interested in sharing books than this one. It's like she's doing a magic trick and just passing the book quickly before the children so they won't see the rabbit hiding in her hand. Talk about your speed reading! I wonder who thought it would be a good idea to have a person without a voice 'read' to children? Yikes.


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